Parenting program to prevent obesity in firstborn babies benefits siblings


Press release

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The results of an NIH-funded study show the potential long-term value of the childhood obesity prevention strategy.

An intervention that has been shown to help first-time parents prevent childhood obesity has also shown ripple effects in secondborns, even without additional parent training. The results come from a study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. The intervention, called reactive parenting, teaches parents how to constructively interact with their baby during feeding, bedtime, and play. Reactive parenting can be an important childhood obesity prevention strategy for families and an effective way to promote healthy growth in children. The study, called SIBSIGHT, was published on December 21 in Obesity.

SIBSIGHT followed a responsive parenting intervention with parents for the first time called Intervention Nurses Start Infants Growing on Health Trajectories (INSIGHT). INSIGHT was a randomized controlled trial designed to reduce rapid and unhealthy weight gain in infancy to prevent childhood obesity. INSIGHT found that after completing the three-year study, children in the reactive parent group had a body mass index (BMI) in a healthier range than those in the control group and significantly lower rates of overweight or obesity in the reactive parent group compared to to control the group.

INSIGHT is now the first educational intervention for the prevention of obesity in first children to demonstrate a ripple effect on future children. In the United States, more than 13% of children aged 2 to 5 are obese, a number that increases with age.

“SIBSIGHT’s results are promising as education reaches parents at optimal times, in the first months of life and now even before subsequent pregnancy,” said Dr Voula Osganian, NIDDK program director for the pediatric clinical obesity. “SIBSIGHT demonstrates the potential long-term value of this childhood obesity prevention strategy.

In the SIBSIGHT observational study, 117 firstborns who participated in INSIGHT and their siblings were followed for one year. The first and second children whose parents received the reactive parental intervention had a statistically significant difference in BMI compared to the children in the control group, the BMI being respectively 0.44 and 0.36 units lower, which is a difference weight of about 2.5%.

“The continued benefits of responsive parenting training are remarkable, as parents of second children did not receive any INSIGHT reactive parenting reminder messages in the observational-only assessment,” said Dr. Jennifer S. Williams , senior author and director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University at University Park.

Parents for the first time assigned to the reactive parent group during the INSIGHT study were educated on how to meet their infant’s needs through four behaviors: feeding, sleeping, interactive play and regulation. emotional. This group also learned strategies such as how to put infants sleepy but awake to bed and how to avoid feeding infants until they are asleep; anticipate and react to nocturnal awakenings in infants; when to introduce solid foods; how to use growth charts; and how to limit sedentary time. The control group received a home security intervention. Both groups received four home visits from an early childhood research nurse, followed by three annual visits to the research center.

“The vast majority of parents have multiple children, so a parenting strategy that can be taught once and show benefits for subsequent children may be a way forward to help tackle the growing problem of childhood obesity,” Osganian said.

At 12 months, the benefit in the second children was similar to that seen in the first children. The researchers conclude that INSIGHT training prevented the use of non-reactive feeding practices and helped establish consistent feeding routines in second siblings.

“The first few months of a child are a critical time for parents and health care providers to step in and promote healthy behaviors and healthy growth, and the results of INSIGHT and SIBSIGHT show us a potential way to do this. do it effectively, “said NIDDK director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. “Early and long-term obesity prevention strategies help prepare our children for a healthy future. “

The NIDDK, which is part of the NIH, conducts and supports basic and clinical research and research training on some of the most common, serious and disabling conditions affecting Americans. The Institute’s research interests include: diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition and obesity; and renal, urological and hematological diseases. For more information, visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):The NIH, the national agency for medical research, comprises 27 institutes and centers and is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the principal federal agency that conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and studies the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases. For more information about the NIH and its programs, visit

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